As part of the University of Kent’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, DICE ran a conference on the Future of Conservation in Kent on Saturday 12th September 2015. Nearly 100 people attended the event, which showcased research from within the School and also brought in speakers from local government and NGOs.
The day began with a keynote speech from Professor Carl Jones, from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, who gave an inspiring talk about his work to save critically endangered species in Mauritius and the potential for re-introducing the chough to Kent. The chough appears on the Canterbury and University of Kent coat of arms but went extinct in the 1800s. There is now a move to re-introduce the species and Carl was able to talk to local landowners about how it could be done.
This was followed by two sets of talks, beginning with Will Day from the Kent Nature Partnership who gave a pragmatic but inspiring talk about the role of conservation in a world focused on economic growth. This was followed by two great talks from DICE members, as Richard Griffiths spoke about new methods for assessing animal populations and Gail Austen spoke about the importance of species identification.
After lunch Fiona White from Kent Wildlife Trust gave an interesting talk about how data collection by local volunteers had helped guide the development of Marine Conservation Zones around our coast, and Dan Tuson from Natural England spoke about their great work developing conservation landscapes on the grasslands that surround Canterbury. Finally, DICE’s Rob Fish gave an entertaining and insightful talk on using public dialogue to explore UK priorities for the natural environment.
The conference also consisted of a number of discussion sessions and during lunch the participants learnt more about our workshop to develop a conservation research agenda by voting for their favourite research questions. This was a great event that brought together researchers, practitioners and the general public to catch up with old friends, make new contacts and find out about novel developments in local conservation.
Addition photographs from this event can be viewed on our Flickr.